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Observation towers in the Czech Republic

photo:  (czechtourism.cz)

Observation towers give us a chance to view the landscape from a different perspective, discover links which might otherwise go unnoticed; sometimes, they enable us to ascend above the surrounding vegetation which otherwise prevents the view.

The Czech Republic and its observation towers defend a peculiar priority. There are more than 350 of them scattered round the country; which means that the Czech Republic has the most observation towers in the world. This is because, except for several other Central European countries, these magical structures conceived as tourist attractions are rather rare.

The building of observation towers boomed in the 1870s and 1880s, when romantic lovers of the landscape were enthralled by their charm. Later, during World War I and World War II, observation towers grew for entirely practical reasons. Hidden, they offered soldiers much better conditions to estimate the distance of approaching troops. As the reasons for building observation towers differ, so do the materials used and their architectonic styles. The Czech Republic boasts observation towers built of stone, wood and also metal. Many of them tell their own interesting stories. But there is one thing all of them have in common – they are certainly worth visiting.

The best known observation towers of the Czech Republic include:

Petřín Hill observation tower (map) – towering on Petřín Hill in Prague. It was built in 1891 and its construction took only four months. Its design conspicuously resembles the Eiffel Tower in Paris and offers a unique view of Prague.

The Žižkov Television Tower (map) – boasts the title of the country’s highest tower. It is 216 metres tall and the observation platform, located 93 metres above the ground, is accessible via a lift. This tower, built of reinforced concrete in 1985-1992, consists of three tubes, the main tube verging into the antenna extension with a digital transmitter. In 2000, the Babies by artist David Černý, i.e. giant babies climbing up and down the tower, appeared on the pillars.

The Praděd (map) – this site originally housed a stone observation tower, which collapsed in 1959. Its place was then occupied by a 162 metre tall structure used as a television signal transmitter. The top of the tower with its distinctive silhouette resembling a launched rocket is the highest point in the Czech Republic.

Boubín (map) – a wooden observation tower on the hill in the Bohemian Forest of the same name was opened in 2004. It reaches the altitude of 1,362 metres. It is 21 metres tall and accessible via 109 steps. Tourists can enjoy a marvellous view of not only the surrounding ridge of the Bohemian Forest, but in nice weather, also the Alps.

Krásenský Hill (map) – is one of most subtly shaped observation towers in the Czech Republic. Its top is accessible via a staircase winding in a spiral around the tower. The tower was erected in the period of the economic crisis of 1933 and 1934; the works were carried out by several unemployed people, the plot and timber were provided by the municipality.

An overview of Czech observation towers is available here.

Author: Petra Hubálková
Added: 13.04.2011

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